A Hedonist's Guide To..., a luxury city guide series for travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Every month it will be bringing readers of The Local its picks of the best places to sleep, eat, drink, party and see in Berlin. It is also doing the same for Stockholm on TheLocal.se. "/> A Hedonist's Guide To..., a luxury city guide series for travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Every month it will be bringing readers of The Local its picks of the best places to sleep, eat, drink, party and see in Berlin. It is also doing the same for Stockholm on TheLocal.se. " />
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The Hedonist List: enjoy Berlin in style this month

The Local has partnered with A Hedonist's Guide To..., a luxury city guide series for travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Every month it will be bringing readers of The Local its picks of the best places to sleep, eat, drink, party and see in Berlin. It is also doing the same for Stockholm on TheLocal.se.

The Hedonist List: enjoy Berlin in style this month

SLEEP

Hotel de Rome

Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Rome opened in October 2006 in a blaze of publicity. Overlooking historical Bebelplatz (the site of the Nazi book-burnings) just off Unter den Linden, the hotel is housed in a 19th-century building that until the end of the war was the head office of Dresdner Bank. Overhauled by designer Tommaso Ziffer and architects Aukett and Heese the hotel has 146 rooms, including an immense presidential suite with a full-length terrace. A great deal of the history of the hotel has been preserved, right down to grenade scars from the war. The rooms, as you’d expect from any Rocco Forte establishment, are both sumptuous and spacious – high ceilings, plush furnishings and walk-in showers are common to all. Parioli, the hotel restaurant, serves Italian and Mediterranean fare and looks out onto a large terrace that offers al fresco dining during the summer. You can also take afternoon tea in the impressive Opera Court. The Spa de Rome was formerly the vault of the bank, but now offers a 20-metre pool, Finnish sauna with light and aromatherapy treatments, and an aromatic steam room as well as various massages.

EAT

Fischers Fritz

Christian Lohse is one of the most happening names on Berlin’s culinary scene at the moment, and with good reason. Having worked in such renowned establishments as Marc Meneau’s (three stars) L´Espérance restaurant in France and the Dorchester in London (where he was also the personal chef to the Sultan of Brunei), Lohse has now brought his talents to West Berlin. The only two Michelin-starred restaurant in Berlin, his current venue is fabulously opulent with a white marble fireplace, crystal chandeliers and a gilt-edged ceiling. Sculptures and paintings abound, and the floor-to-ceiling windows give wonderful views of the historic Gendarmenmarkt. The menu is the real show-stealer, though. It leans towards fish and seafood, but pedestrian descriptions could never do the food here justice. Imagination and passion are everywhere, making Fischers Fritz one of those rare places where you know you’re in good hands and offer yourself up to the experience of others. Business lunches and private dining are also available.

DRINK

Babette

There’s the possibility Big Brother really could be watching you in this ‘glass box’ bar on Karl-Marx-Allee. One of several impressive examples of DDR architecture in this area, the giant transparent cube was once a cosmetic studio. Formerly known as the KMA (Karl-Marx-Allee) Bar, Babette recently reverted to its original name. Revamped by the owners of underground club Lovelite (RIP), Babette is now one of the trendiest bars in town. Although a distance from the main drag, it’s a useful spot for visitors to the Kino International cinema opposite and occasional club venue Café Moskau. Downstairs, guests relax in full view of the street, while a partitioned mezzanine level houses former treatment rooms that now offer occasional live bands and private dinners. DJs regularly spin a selection of cutting-edge sounds, everything from lounge and rock to electro. The bar has no name or street number, just a highly distinctive identity. Impossible to miss.

PARTY

Tausend

Tausend is a ritzy new spot in town that caters to Berlin’s celeb crowds, jeunesse dorée, high-flying business types and onlookers galore. With a music policy that’s split between live acts (jazz, soul, funk) and DJs, the club’s interior is a narcissistic blaze of flattering lighting and mirrors, with a cocktail bar that serves superlative cocktails. On one end of the long, tubular room, a big bright ‘sun’ bathes revellers in an eerie orange glow and reflects their heads off the ceiling. On the other end is the dance floor, cosy and dark enough to let even the shyest management consultant groove with reckless abandon. Don’t tell the boss! The door policy is strict for groups of men, so if that applies to you show up early or in mixed company. Stylish women always get in.

CULTURE

Schloss Charlottenburg

Built in 1695 as a summer residence for Queen Sophie-Charlotte and her husband Friedrich III, this is the largest surviving Hohenzollern Palace. The huge gardens are a particular draw, with a Belvedere teahouse built in 1788. The Palace itself is vast and various combinations of entrance tickets can be purchased: save yourself a headache and go for the combined ticket. Much of the Old Palace is classically traditional, dripping with silver and porcelain. Of more interest is the New Wing of the State Apartments of Frederick the Great. A collector of 18th-century French art, he accumulated many impressive works. The Stüler Bau Pavilion can also be found on the castle grounds and houses the Sammlung Berggruen, with a collection of works by Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh and Klee.

For information on these and many more great places in Berlin, visit www.hg2.com/cities/berlin.

For members

BERLIN

EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

Shops
If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

Leisure
2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

Hairdressers
For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

Transport
3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.

 

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